Chaz Back on Top

By Nick Lipton – Even with Dew Cup point leader Ryan Sheckler absent due to an injury, the largest crowd of the weekend flooded the Rose Garden for the Wendy’s Invitational Skate Park finals. With Sheckler out of the picture, the finalists saw a chance to shake up the leader board. Chaz Ortiz took full advantage, winning today and taking over the top spot in tour standings.

The skaters were split into two rounds and given one solo run each, followed by a jam session. First to drop was 18 year-old Timmy Knuth. The young gun skated like a grown man hammering tricks like kickflip boardslide’s and a huge disaster. Fourth place finisher Carlos De Andrade also dropped hammers in the first round by skating fast enough to launch a huge 360 flip from the bank to the manual pad. Last to skate in the first round was Dave Bachinsky. Dave put down some amazing lip tricks like blunt kickflip out, but couldn’t put a run together. Afterwards Dave had an apple and said how harsh he thought his run was. That’s when he noticed the first jam session, which he was in, was taking place.

Even with the bumpy start, Dave proved himself in the jam with a 5-0 back 180 out and a smooth backtail kickflip out. To match Dave, Fabrizio Santos threw out a kickflip backlip. Timmy, still charging, spent the second half of the jam trying gap 360 flip to noseslide. It was ridiculous, but he could never manage to roll away before the time ran out.

You can’t stack a round much better than today’s second group. In a who’s who of pro skateboarding, Greg Lutzka, Rodolfo Ramos, Paul Rodriguez, Chaz Ortiz, Chris Cole, and Ryan Decenzo dropped in for their solo runs. Rodolfo, wearing a Motorhead t-shirt, thrashed the park and gapped almost everything in sight, but a few falls plagued him. After Rodolfo, came P-Rod, and an ear-piercing scream flooded the arena as he dropped. A switch front blunt and switch feeble from P-Rod helped him place 3rd, but Chaz Ortiz and Chris Cole had their own battle going.

Chaz’s solo run had all the ingredients you’d expect from a 15 year-old superstar. A video on the big screen prior to his drop, a run that looked like it could have been taken from a video game, and of course, the top spot going into the second round jam. Cole, being almost double Chaz’s age, brought his own style to the Park course. After landing in second Cole, Chaz, and the rest of round two skaters dropped in for the second jam.

Six skaters drop in, six skaters land bangers, repeat–that was the round two jam. Chaz kickflipped in and out of everything, Chris Cole blew minds with a double backside flip, a backside 360 kickflip, and even an airwalk over on of the smaller gaps. It was Ryan Decenzo who really stole the show though, landing a massive hardflip over the rail to beat the buzzer.

Going into the final jam Chaz sat in 1st, followed by Chris Cole, Carlos De Andrade, P-Rod, Decenzo, and Fabrizio. P-Rod’s ability to make it happen ended up bumping him into the 3rd spot, and his switch kickflip frontboard didn’t hurt either. There was simply no catching Chaz Ortiz or Chris Cole though. Chaz threw out hammers, highlighted by a double kickflip frontboard and a nollie heel backlip. Cole, still riding in his own world, threw a miller flip on the quarter-pipe, more double flip tricks, another backside 360 kickflip, and enough weight around to lock his second place finish.

After the contest Chaz was “so hyped” on his win but admitted that Sheckler’s absence made things a bit easier, “He puts it down, he’s a hard competitor and he probably would have been on this podium.”